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Ormskirk: A Historic Market Town

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Trouble Brewing – Part 4

Philip Forshaw of Bath Springs Brewery seems to have been a very hard working and dedicated business man.  He had built a small empire out of his investments in Brewing and distributing Ale to Inns, Public Houses and Beer houses across the County.

Wellfield

Wellfield, residence of Rev James Taylor

Not everything in Philips life followed the same pattern of success, by August 1862 he had been struggling with ill health, (he was partially paralysed after a stroke), he had been involved in several legal battles with clients, employees, tenants and his own family.  No wonder that he tried to sell his Bath Springs Brewery that August.  His plan might have been to retire to his newly built home on Lord Street and take things easier.

The tragic circumstances surrounding the sudden death of his eldest daughter Martha, just weeks after her second child was born, would have been a great blow to Philip. His legal fight to regain control of his business interests from his next of kin had most likely caused considerable animosity between his Family. After Martha’s death, within a week, Philip and his nephew John Forshaw had drawn up Philips last will and testament.

The will goes a long way to help see what kind of a man Philip Forshaw really was.  Within the first few sentences he names his two illegitimate sons, John and Philip Baldwin, as his executors.  These young men had been living with their mother in the cottage at the back of Forshaw’s Ship Inn since they were young boys. Their mother Catherine Baldwin had lived in Up Holland when she gave birth to her sons, John in early 1845 and Philip born 1st October 1848.  A relative had the licence at the Bird ‘ith Hand beer house, Hall Green, Upholland and it is probable that Philip Forshaw had business interests at the Beer House.

It is not possible to say for sure whether when Catherine and her sons relocated to the Ship Inn Cottage in Ormskirk, any of Philip’s family knew Catherine and her sons were the other family in Philip’s life but quite possibly they did not move there until after both his daughters were married.

St Marks, Scarisbrick

St Marks, Scarisbrick

The first bequest Philip makes in his will is one for the sum of £1000.00 to be used for the sole purpose of building a parsonage for the vicar or incumbent of the Parish of St Mark’s Church Scarisbrick.

The second bequest is for the sum of £1000.00 to be invested by the Vicar of Ormskirk for benefit of the poor of the town, whereby £100.00 per year from the annuities should be used for consumables such as coal and bread for the needy however the Vicar sees fit. He also left £100.00 each to the Foreign Missionary Society and the Southport Strangers Charity.

Ormskirk Dispensary

Ormskirk Dispensary

There was a further legacy of £100.00 to be used to fund medical care for the poor of the town at the Dispensary, and the Rev. James Taylor Wareing of Wellfield House, Westhead in Lathom Parish, was charged with seeing to it that the money was used wisely.

There was however, the strangest of provisos added at the end of the first set of charitable donations. It appears that Philip Forshaw had misgivings about one or two members of the town’s legal fraternity.  His words are as follows:

‘I Declare that the legacies or sums of money before given for the benefit of the Incumbent or pastor of the church at Scarisbrick aforesaid; For the poor of Ormskirk; To the Ormskirk dispensary And for the Southport Strangers Charity, shall be null and void in case William Welsby of Ormskirk aforesaid, Solicitor, Charles Hill of Ormskirk aforesaid, Solicitor now or later his clerk or any partner or partners of them or either of them shall be holding any appointment, office or employment, honorary or otherwise or be Trustee Manager Chairman or Clerk or otherwise connected so as to give them or either of them directly or indirectly a voice in the mode or manner of the distribution of such Legacies or any of them or concerned in any way as to the investing of the same or any of them.’

May 1855, Rev James Bush, Vicar of Ormskirk and the Foreign Missionary Society supported with a £100 legacy

May 1855, Rev James Bush, Vicar of Ormskirk and the Foreign Missionary Society supported with a £100 legacy

The above declaration is on page one of Philip’s eight page will, the will was made public within days of his death and the details of the charitable donations made the newspapers in several local towns that same week.  Philip’s solicitor was his nephew John Forshaw of Preston.

Another declaration on page three reads, ‘The sum of £100.00 lent by me to the Reverend Joseph Bush, Vicar of Ormskirk aforesaid on a note of hand I forgive him and release him from the payment thereof and all interest due thereon.’  Rev Bush was the Vicar of Ormskirk from 1853 – 1870 and in 1909, a stained glass window was put in at the church to commemorate the work of Rev Bush and his wife Annabel Theodosia Bush.

Philip’s only surviving daughter Annie, who was married to bank manager William Henry Smith and lived in Southport, was included in the will along with her two half-brothers John Baldwin and Philip Baldwin and she was left one third of the estate.  There was however another declaration :

and in the case of  the said Annie Smith for her separate use free from the control of any husband and without power of anticipation”

‘Any Husband’? Philip covered all his bases! By 1871, William Henry and Annie Smith had 8 children and lived at 132, Lord Street, Southport.  Philip had died in 1865 and his estate was valued at under £25,000.

Interestingly, William Henry and Annie Smith are not enumerated at their home address in 1871, all eight children are left at home in the care of servants. It took a while to find out where the Smiths had gone, then they turned up, as house guests at ‘The Firs’, Lathom, home of Charles Hill, solicitor of Ormskirk…..

The next episode will cover the property Philip left, the bequests to the ordinary people in the town and the tragedies of the 30 years beyond his passing.

Trouble Brewing – Part 3

Trouble Brewing – Part 3

Philip Forshaw had been trading as a saddler in the Golden Lion yard but at sometime between 1841 and 1844 he took over the lease of the Golden Lion.  When the out buildings at the rear of the Old Ship Inn across the road came up for sale in October 1844, the auction was held at Forshaws’ Golden Lion. Thomas Williams was the highest bidder at the sale with his bid of £162.00.

Aughton Brewery

Aughton Brewery

The Old Ship Inn itself came up for sale in 1846 and Philip Forshaw took out a mortgage and moved into the Inn.  Philip had lost his wife and baby son in 1842 and his two daughters, Martha and Ann went away to boarding school in Litherland after their mother died.  Martha was born 1837 and Ann was born 1839. Whilst his daughters were away at school, Philip carried on adding to his business interests, taking over the Aughton Brewery in 1849. Joseph Richardson, from a well known Rainford brewing family, had built up the Aughton Brewery for some years and it also ran the White Bull and the Swan Inn, Burscough Street.  When he died in July 1848, his executors put the brewery up for sale as separate lots, selling off some of the building land around it, where villas were built quite quickly.

Forshaw took over the brewery but it would seem that he was not happy with the efficiency of the layout or the production.  To really make the success he wanted from brewing, he needed a purpose built modern brewery.  In 1851, he sold on the Aughton Brewery to Joseph Pye (later to partner with his brother-in-law Captain Edward Sudbury) and moved into the newly built Forshaw Brewery at the Bath Springs site.

The White Bull

The White Bull

By the late 1850s Philip Forshaw and his Bath Springs Brewery had become the biggest brewery in the town and not only supplied ale to many many Houses, he also owned and sub-let dozens of Houses across the county from Preston to Wigan and Southport to Liverpool.

By the time his youngest daughter Annie married in March 1857, Philip Forshaw was a wealthy and successful businessman.  Annie married William Henry Smith, who had been one of Philips Brewery Managers, but shortly after the marriage, William became a Bank Manager in Southport.

On 6th September 1859, Philip’s Eldest daughter Martha married Captain William John Chambers Martin of the 6th Royal Lancashire Militia, he had been born in Bengal, India and his father had also been in the Army.

An advert relating to the Aughton Brewery Sale from Gore's General Advertiser

An advert relating to the Aughton Brewery Sale from Gore’s General Advertiser

It was in the summer of 1859 however that Philip Forshaw suffered a stroke, which left him paralysed and incapacitated.  He had recently built some houses in Birkdale and he was unable to run his business or visit the premises around the county which he owned.  His physician was so concerned with the grave state of his patients’ health, that the doctor felt it wise to inform Philip that this may be his last few months on earth.

Being the type of man he appears to have been, this set in motion a plan to oversee the transfer of all the business to the control of his offspring, which at that time were his two married daughters.  Of course that really would have meant that the son-in-laws would be in control.  By early 1861, a couple of changes took place. Philip made an unexpected recovery, although he was still paralysed.  William J.C. Martin became Superintendant of the Police and moved into the Police Superintendant’s house on Derby Street with his wife Martha and their little boy William Arthur born Aug 1860.

Once he found that he had recovered enough to take back his empire however, Philip realised that he would have to fight to get control back through the courts.  It is unlikely that his daughters would have stood against him, but they were both married to men who were used to being in charge and this forced Philip to apply to the Chancery Court to reclaim his property and businesses.

This set in motion a sequence of events which changed the business and the family.

Martha gave birth to a baby girl, Emma Charlotte, in the summer of 1862. Her father Philip, still unwell but in control of his business, seems to have been estranged from his family.  In November 1862, his eldest daughter Martha died aged just 25.  She left two small children and a great deal of turmoil.  At the inquest on her death held at the Coroners Court in Ormskirk, adjacent to the police home where she died, the coroner, Mr C. E. Driffield, took the court before a jury, and the evidence from Martha’s Doctor revealed the cause of her untimely death.  Her father was not in court, but his nephew, John Forshaw, who was also the family solicitor, was present.

An article on Martha's death 1862 from the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent Monday November 10th 1862

An article on Martha’s death 1862 from the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent Monday November 10th 1862

Medical evidence put before the court revealed that some weeks prior to her death, Martha had received a blow to the temple by a blunt object and this caused a fracture of the skull.  A further witness, Dr Ashton, who had attended Mrs Martin after the accident, repeated two conversations he had had with Superintendant Martin, Martha’s widower, after the original injury. Martin explained that during the night the little boy, William, had been restless and needed attention.  Martha and her husband had argued over the care of the boy and Martin explained that the argument had escalated to objects being thrown across the bedroom after a brief physical struggle. As Martha was leaving the room she slipped, and hit her head on the door handle.

On her deathbed, Martha, who was struggling to speak and was very weak, was unable to answer questions put to her by two physicians as to the exact cause of the injury to her skull.  Due to any evidence to the contrary, a verdict of accidental death was recorded.

William John Chambers Martin moved to West Derby as the Superintendant of Police there. His son William Arthur grew up and went to medical school, Emma Charlotte married a Scottish businessman.   

Philip Forshaw was left with just one daughter to carry on his business but her family was growing and her life was with her bank manager husband in Southport.

Philip relied on John Baldwin,a young man who was running the brewery and who had been living at the Ship Inn for a number of years with his younger brother Philip Baldwin. Both boys were the illegitimate sons of Catherine Baldwin of Up Holland, who had brought the boys to Ormskirk in the 1850s to live at the Ship Inn.  It would not be until Philips death in 1865 and the acknowledgement in his will of his two illegitimate sons, John and Philip Baldwin,that the real Forshaw wars started.

Part 4 of the Forshaw Saga to follow.

Trouble Brewing – Part 2

Trouble Brewing: Part 2

A Forshaw's Brewer Stopper. A very rare item indeed.

A Forshaw’s Brewer Stopper. A very rare item indeed.

One of the most successful businesses in the town in the 1800s was the brewery at Bath Springs, built by Philip Forshaw. The company also operated dozens of Inns and beerhouses across Lancashire, purchased with a mortgage,  as well as supplying ale to those houses and many more not part of the Forshaw holding. These Inns were sub-let to tenant landlords at an annual rental, which would be anything from £50 p.a. upwards.

Bath Springs Brewery had been built in the mid-1850s, in 1861, Philip Forshaw petitioned the local Overseers of the Poor for his poor rate assessment being set too high, the appeal was refused because the previous 8 years annual assessment had been made on a business in its infancy.

Forshaw had two daughters,  Annie, the youngest, married William Henry Smith, 9th March 1857, William, who had been born in India,  was also involved in the Brewery business at the time of his marriage. The older sister, Martha, married on 13 Sept 1859 one William John Chambers Martin, who was the son of the Governor of Preston House of Corrections (Preston Gaol) and also a Superindendent of Police in Southport.

The Railway on Derby Street

The Railway on Derby Street

The future of the Brewery business and the future of the Forshaw family seemed secure , however, in September of 1859, Philip became seriously ill and was given a warning by his doctor, Dr. Walsh of 28 Burscough Street, that he may well not last many weeks. On the strength of this, and with great foresight, Philip signed over by a deed all his business interests to his daughters and quite probably this meant both his son-in-laws.

Despite the prophecy of doom from Dr Walsh, Philip made a full recovery and by early 1860 he was well enough to take control of his business empire, however, he was prevented from doing so by the deed assigning control to his family. To take back the business, he had to resort to the courts to have the deed set aside and his family had to relinquish their holding.

It is not surprising therefore that from that time on there was a rift created in the Forshaw family.

In 1861, Annie and her family were living at the same address on London Road, Southport as her sister Martha and family.  Annie’s husband William Henry Smith was no longer in the Brewing trade, he had (somehow) become a Bank Manager. Martha and her Police Superintendent husband, William J.C. Martin had just had a son and Annie had 3 young children.

The Bull's Head on Aughton Street

The Bull’s Head on Aughton Street

In 1861, Philip was actually in Islington, London, he was accompanied by a young widow named Annie Tallman, who was the daughter of one of Philips tenants from Liverpool. It is probable that Philip was visiting London on legal matters as at this point, he was under considerable pressure over his health and the running of the business, borne out by his failed attempt to sell the Bath Springs Brewery in 1862 and increasing issues at the Brewster Sessions at the new Ormskirk Courts, where his Bulls Head pub on Aughton Street had just been refused a license.

One of the first licenses Philip held some years earlier had been that of the Old Ship Inn, Moor Street. He lived there before moving to his new home in Birkdale.   The Old Ship had been a large Inn with extensive out buildings to the rear which included the old Ormskirk Theatre, closed in April 1839, just 8 years before Philip took over the tenancy.  There were also several workshops and dwellings. One small family moved into one of these cottages sometime before 1861. The family consisted of single woman Catherine Baldwin, born Up Holland and her two sons, John and Philip Baldwin, both also born Up Holland, John Baptised 9th Feb. 1845 and Philip born 1st October 1848. In 1861, aged 16, John was employed as a brewers clerk whilst Philip was only 12 and attending school.

On February 15th 1865, Philip Forshaw died at his home in Birkdale aged just 52. The Ormskirk Advertiser reported his death in a very brief notice in the obituaries and also in a short simple note in their local news column. Philip was buried at the Parish Church 3 days after his death.

On the 30th May 1865, probate was granted to John Forshaw, solicitor of Preston and a cousin of Philips. The estate was valued at ‘under £25,000’.

It is from this point that the story of the Bath Springs Brewery starts to read like a soap opera.

John Baldwin, son of Catherine, marries Sarah Ann Harrison 15 Mar 1866, he marries in the name of John Baldwin Forshaw, and in the marriage register his father is recorded as, ‘Philip Forshaw, Brewer’. Sarah Ann Harrison was in fact Annie Tallman, the widow that Philip Snr.  had been in Islington with in 1861. She had married Henry Tallman in Liverpool in 1858.  On the 6th of June 1866, three weeks after his marriage, John Baldwin Forshaw applied to the Liverpool Probate Registry for a second grant of probate for the will of Philip Forshaw.

In 1871, John Baldwin Forshaw and his wife Annie are the tenants of the Railway Hotel, Derby Street vente pharmacie viagra. They have 3 young children including Philip aged 4.

In 1871 the other son of Catherine, Philip Baldwin, was living at Bath Springs with his wife Amy Blanche, who he married in 1869 using the name Philip Baldwin Forshaw.

On the 10th September 1872, Philip Baldwin Forshaw himself applied to the District Probate Registry in Liverpool for a third grant of probate for the will of Philip Forshaw.

John Baldwin Forshaw and Philip Baldwin Forshaw became known as Messrs Forshaw Brothers of Bath Springs, Brewers. Only for a short time though, as John Baldwin Forshaw died in March 1878 aged just 33 and his younger brother Philip had already died in June 1876 aged just 27.  In his will, Philip Baldwin Forshaw is referred to as ‘commonly called Philip Baldwin Forshaw’, his will was also the subject of more than one application for a grant of probate and the final grant was in 1891, 15 years after his death with an estate valued at £11,000.  John Baldwin Forshaw on his grant of probate was termed, ‘John Baldwin- now commonly called or known by the name of and hereinafter designated John Baldwin Forshaw. John left an estate valued at ‘under £25,000’. This will have been the inheritance from his brother Philip, who left his half of the brewery business to his brother but bequeathed all the, ‘jewels, trinkets and personal ornaments worn by her and myself and all my household furniture, plate, plated articles, Linen, china, glass, pictures, books, prints, musical instruments, wines, liquors and household items’ to his young widow Amy Blanche.

Catherine Baldwin, mother of John and Philip, lived most of her life in Chapel Street, ‘living off her own means’ which needs explaining and hopefully will be in the next chapter of the story.

So what happened to Philip Forshaw’s daughters? Why were the two of them not involved in the business and why did they not apply for probate? Why was one of them visiting with Charles Hill at The Firs, on Ruff Lane, in 1871, he of Dickinson Parker, Hill?

There is still trouble with these brewers, even after death. There is more of this saga to come.

Trouble Brewing: Part 1

Trouble Brewing

Bath Springs Brewery on Derby Street

Bath Springs Brewery on Derby Street

The Brewing business in Ormskirk found the greatest success during the 19th century.  For several decades, there were a number of sites around the town where production of Ale was on a huge scale.

To accommodate the new railway line from Liverpool to Preston, in the late 1840s engineers transformed the town by building a tunnel under Moor Street and a bridge over the tunnel was formed, the new Railway Road was put in connecting Moor Street to the new station in the 1850s. All this rapid development impacted on the tradespeople of Moor Street, many of the shops and homes were demolished for around a hundred yards starting from the Golden Lion on the North of the street, and the same thing happened to the buildings opposite on the south side.

Many small shops and businesses had to then look for new premises, this was at a time when the anticipated impact of the railway had already led to speculation that property and land in and around the town would increase in value.

The construction of the tunnel, the building of the bridge and the laying of the track will have disrupted trade for quite a long time, easy access would have been lost to the east end of Moor Street.

Forshaw's Brewery Bottle

Forshaw’s Brewery Bottle

Adjacent to the Golden Lion, a saddler was just starting out with his young family, Philip Forshaw, born Burscough 1813, was married with two small daughters in 1841 but by the end of the decade he had gone into partnership with two brothers to take control of several local beerhouses and also to take the tenancy of the Ship Inn, Moor Street in 1847. These investors were Thomas and Edward Greenall of Wilderspool.

When the railway opened in April 1849, Philip Forshaw was ready to move with the times and take advantage of the new business the railway would bring to the town.

Without wasting any opportunity he saw, Philip Forshaw was able to raise funds to construct a purpose built brewery on the site of the defunct public bath house on Derby Street, situated near the Bath Springs.

Philip was less lucky in his family life, he had married a girl called Ellen Berry in 1835, but lost her soon afterwards, he then married her sister Elizabeth, but after his wife gave birth to a third child in 1842, a son Philip, Elizabeth also died.  The baby also died a few weeks later.  Philip must have immersed himself in his brewery business because he sent his two young daughters away to school in Litherland at a very young age, and he worked hard to build the business, expanding his chain of pubs, beerhouses and inns all the time, covering a large area of Lancashire, whilst operating two breweries , the Bath Springs site as well as one in Liverpool, which supplied Ale to many more licensed houses.

By the late 1860s his reasonably sized Empire was employing many local people and his reputation in the County was one of a powerful force in the brewing industry.

The Ship Inn (first building on the left) on Moor Street in 1902

The Ship Inn (first building on the left) on Moor Street in 1902

That would all change in 1859 however, when he himself became seriously ill and his medical team advised him that he may not live out the year. His financial advisors pressed him to hand over the running of the business to his children, daughters Annie and Martha.

He probably had little choice but to agree, he quite probably felt very little unease at this, as Annie had  just married the brewery manager and Martha had just married the Superintendant of Police for Southport.

Just a couple of months later, despite the medical diagnosis, Philip made a full recovery and came back to the business realising that he no longer had any access to his own money or business.  His son-in-laws were no doubt in control of the business.

The sign above the Ship Inn which is still in existence today

The sign above the Ship Inn which is still in existence today

Philip had no choice but to instigate a suit to get the deed of settlement set aside, which the Master of the Rolls at the Chancery Court himself decided.

Philip Forshaw regained control of his business and to celebrate he sent out to be shared amongst his many (beer) houses, a considerable sum up money!

This is just the start of the story, what happened next, and what continued to happen for several decades all stemmed from this action. The story continues to unfold in our next article. Trouble was certainly brewing……….

For more on this intriguing story see Trouble Brewing Part 2

Ormskirk Bygone Times is holding a informal meeting in the Civic Hall on Thursday evening, 5th May in the upstairs meeting room.  We intend to hold a regular get together for anyone with an interest in any aspect of the history and heritage of Ormskirk and District. All are welcome, a charge of £1 per person is being asked to cover the cost of the room hire, anything above that will be donated to local worthy causes. Refreshments will be available for a small charge.

For more details, visit our social media page at https://www.facebook.com/Ormskirkbygonetimes

Captain Edward Sudbury (1820-1870)

Captain Edward Sudbury (1820-1870)

Captain Edward Sudbury

Captain Edward Sudbury

Sudbury ‘s Star Brewery , situated at the start of Prescot Road, and therefore within the Aughton Parish, was a successful business which Edward Sudbury joined as a partner along with his brother-in-law, Joseph Hewitt Pye (1817-1862). Nottinghamshire born Edward was a surveyor by occupation and worked not only for the ordnance survey but also the Ormskirk & Southport Building Society. He had trained as a land surveyor and had considerable experience in drainage and enclosure which he brought to the county.  His first few years in Ormskirk saw him marry a young lady from Rainford, Hannah Pye, whose family not only owned the Star Brewery but also the brickworks at Martin Lane Burscough.

The Brewery at Town End, owned by Edward Sudbury and later his four sons

The Brewery at Town End, owned by Edward Sudbury and later his four sons

Edward Sudbury was a Captain in the 54th Lancashire Rifle Volunteers (54th LRV) from the 1860s succeeding Lieutenant John Dickinson.

Edward Sudbury died at home, at the Brewery, Aughton in 1870. His funeral was a large affair and the town’s business closed their shops and offices at 12 noon as a mark of respect. People of the town lined the streets to bow their heads as the funeral procession passed on it’s way to Ormskirk Parish Church led by the band and troop of the 54th.

An advert for the Sudbury Star Brewery

An advert for the Sudbury Star Brewery. Click for a larger view

Amongst the mourners there was a carriage containing the town’s prominent citizens as Edward had been a Brother of a local lodge and had held office.

The 54th Rifles fired three volleys over the grave and the Masons performed their traditional funeral ceremony at the grave side with J. B. Lambert giving a moving testimony.

After his death, the Star Brewery continued for a number of years under the management of his four sons.

Coulton’s Bakery, Windmill Avenue

Coulton’s Bakery, Windmill Avenue

Coulton's Bakery, which still stands today on Windmill Avenue

Coulton’s Bakery, which still stands today on Windmill Avenue

In 1901, Thomas Coulton (1870 – 1936) had a small grocery shop at 22 Wigan Road with a bakery at the rear owned by William Fryer.  Thomas had served his apprenticeship with Ainsdale baker Robert T. Duerden but had been born in Halsall/Rufford.

The bakery was taken over by Thomas Coulton and the new factory was built in 1903 on Windmill Avenue. By 1911, Coulton, the Managing Director of the bakery, had moved his family into the large family home Blairgowrie, Ruff Lane, later to become the Nurses Home.

Blairgowrie, the house on Ruff Lane that was owned by Thomas Coulton and would later become the nurses home

Blairgowrie, the house on Ruff Lane that was owned by Thomas Coulton and would later become the nurses home

Thomas travelled to the United States in the early 1920s to look at the mechanical processes used there in bakeries and his son Wilfred also travelled to North America in the 1920s as the Bakery Manager visiting factories in the Chicago area. Wilfred is recorded as travelling to the USA quite a few times in the early 1920s. On one journey he appears to have travelled with a Mr Warburton.

Machinery from Coulton's factory on Windmill Avenue

Machinery from Coulton’s factory on Windmill Avenue

Bakery factories in Canada were visited by Wilfred in 1921, the Harrison Wholesale Bread Baker factory in Montreal, and the Ideal Bread Company in Toronto, Ontario.

The Ormskirk Bakery business thrived and modern methods of production were brought into the factory. Local deliveries, domestic and commercial, meant that the Coulton Vans became familiar sights around the area, with the business expanding to a factory in the Southport area, where Thomas Coulton lived in the later years of his life.

A Coulton's delivery van based at the Southport factory

A Coulton’s delivery van based at the Southport factory

Thomas Coulton took a keen interest in local civic matters and he sat on several committees at the Workhouse in Wigan Road during the 1920s.

If you have any of your own stories relating to Coulton’s Bakery or any of the other businesses in the town we would love to hear them, so get in touch with us here.

An advert for Coulton's Purity Bread

An advert for Coulton’s Purity Bread

The Iron Horse

The Iron Horse

Ormskirk Railway Station

Ormskirk Railway Station

The Railway reached Ormskirk in the 1840s and with its arrival a whole new world of opportunity opened up for ordinary people of the town.  Everyday travel to work at all destinations to Liverpool and Preston meant that people were motivated to learn new trades and skills and this meant a change in income.

The type of housing being built in the town to accommodate the professional working class and the growing number of successful tradesmen led to the building of the towns own areas of superior quality housing.  Many of these large detached houses are still standing today in the St Helens Road, Ruff Lane and later Knowsley Road, areas.  Southport Road was also a part of the town which saw rapid development from a road containing old cottages and a busy rope factory to a well planned modern street offering larger homes to the business people living and working in the town.

New housing on Ruff Lane. Built as a result of expansion after the introduction of the railway to Ormskirk

New housing on Ruff Lane. Built as a result of expansion after the introduction of the railway to Ormskirk

The Railway also created a demand for hotel and Inn accommodation which in turn led to the renovation and extension of several town centre hostelries. The Commercial Hotel on Railway Road became a thriving concern for travellers and there was also carriage service there for travellers wishing to visit the area on business or pleasure.

Market Days were destination points for travellers from all over the County and indeed beyond and this swelled the towns population each Thursday and Saturday, bringing revenue to the town regularly and allowing many local businesses to expand and diversify.  With the emergence of the retail concept in the latter half of the 19th century, shops in Ormskirk became bigger and better appointed with a wide range of stock on offer to visitors and locals, the range of market stalls began to change from farm produce and agricultural supplies to more domestic needs, like materials, clothing, footwear and even souvenirs for the visitors to take away with them.

a souvenir seller on Ormskirk Market

a souvenir seller on Ormskirk Market

Ormskirk thrived with the new Railway connection and continued to expand and grow , whilst its local agricultural production increased with the new markets the farmers could reach using the goods trains into Preston and Liverpool.

If you have any of your own stories about the railway in Ormskirk we would love to hear them, you can get in touch with us here.

Time In A Bottle

Time In A Bottle

Ormskirk’s history is being preserved and displayed by Ormskirk Bygone Times and many of our friends, through a myriad of media and artefacts. One relatively inexpensive, and quite simple way that this is being done is by the collection of discarded bottles, storage jars and other empty vessels, long since emptied of their contents.

Image 1

A selection of glass and earthenware bottles from Ormskirk businesses

Image 1. A selection of glass and earthenware bottles from Ormskirk businesses

The first image is of a group of rescued glass and earthenware bottles and vessels that covers a vast array of manufacturers across the decades, all with links to the town. From left to right:

Richard Taylor, Brewer of the Wheatsheaf Hotel, Burscough Street. Bottles like this were sold through the off license hatch to the side of the old pub way back into the early 1900s.

The Sterling Manufacturing Company of the old factory on Bridge Street produced a range of household cleaning products in the 1940s and 50s, including bleach, distemper and oils.

The partnership of Ellis, Warde & Webster based at Bath Springs brewery on Derby Street, originally built by Philip Forshaw mid 19th C., supplied many pubs across Lancashire and were a huge business in the town.

Woods Dispensing Chemist, 9, Church Street. William Beaconsfield Woods had been an apprentice to his Pharmacist  father who was probably working at the dispensary in Burscough Street in the late 1800s.

Ellis  Warde & Co Ltd. Originally brewed their ales at the Snigs Foot before merging with Daniel Websters Brewery from the Malt House Southport Rd and moving to Derby Street

Hyde’s wine and spirit dealers had a couple of premises along Aughton Street late 1800s into the early 1900s but along with the licensing restrictions on pubs at the start of WW1, retailers of beers and wines were also hit and the Hyde family moved to Liverpool.

Image 2

A pair of bottles from Knowles Brewery, Ormskirk

Image 2. A pair of bottles from Knowles Brewery

Two bottles recently dug up locally, these came from the Knowles Brewery, operating from behind the Snigs Foot, Church Street. Richard Knowles announced his venture into brewing on the front page of the Advertiser in September 1904, when Ellis & Warde moved their operation to Bath Springs.

Image 3

Mineral Water bottles from Mason and Cammack

Image 3. Mineral Water bottles from Mason and Cammack

Mineral Water was big business in the town in the late 19th early 20th century. It was clean, safe drinking water and these two examples are from the firm of Charles Mason of Skelmersdale and George Cammack of Ormskirk & St Helens.

Image 4

Disposable Inkwells found in the fields around Ormskirk

Image 4. Disposable Inkwells found in the fields around Ormskirk

This type of throw away clay inkwell surfaces regularly in the fields around the town. Thrown into middens in Liverpool City in the 19th century and transported out of the city on canal barges buried in the rich natural fertiliser West Lancs built it’s agricultural industry on. Clay pipes have been ploughed up in the fields around Ormskirk for decades and sometimes they are still lit……

Ormskirk Bygone Times would like to say a special thanks to David Pye, our local bottle expert, who regularly attends our displays and spends a lot of time identifying all manner of vessels relating to local businesses.

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